Toyota celebrates its Golden Anniversary

  • Page Views 392

    On Saturday, February 18, the other half of the celebrated rivalry in the history of Philippine basketball that served as one of the launching pads of why the shoot-and-dribble sport has remained the Filipino’s favorite past time, will mark the 50th year of its founding.

    To commemorate that year 1973 when the Toyota basketball team came into being to wreck havoc on the country’s cage scene, surviving members of the franchise owned by the Toyota Motors, gather for the first time in decades at the place where they used to hold important occasions — the Alfresco Covered Lounge on Don Chino Roces Ave. (formerly Pasong Tamo Extension) in Makati City.

    Heading attendees of Saturday’s affair are long-time mentor-owner Dante Silverio and, hopefully, local basketball’s “living legend” Robert Jaworski, to reminisce the teams’ rich and memorable winning traditions in both the amateur and professional ranks.

    Jaworski, who, according the Gil Cortez, a Toyota team member and first PBA Rookie of the Year honoree, quoting Jawo’s son Robert Jr. or Dodot, now Pasig City vice Mayor, has just been released from the hospital due to a rare blood disorder he’s been suffering for more than two years, is already in fine condition and can attend the gathering defending on advice of his doctors.

    “Pipilitin daw, according to Dodot, na makarating si coach Jawo, kung papayagan ng doctor,” Cortez, assigned to coordinate the affair, told this writer on the former “King Warrior” of the Unversity of the East’s presence on the occasion.

    Two years after its founding, while carrying the banner of the Komatsu Komets coached by Nilo Verona, ruled the 1973 Manila Industrial Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) in Cinderella fashion, Jaworski and company, would migrate to the first ever professional league in Asia, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), where Toyota won the play-for-pay’s historic two inaugural conferences on the way to a total nine before the team was dismantled in early 1980s.

    Members of that 1973 MICAA crown owners were Ronald Acosta, Fort Acuna, Francis Arnaiz, Orlando Bauzon, Edward Camus, Edilberto Canalao, Robert Concepcion, Ramon Fernandez, Cristino Reynoso, Ulysses Rodriguez, Rodolfo Segura, Alberto ”Big Boy” and Jaworski.

    Along with eight other MICAA members, Toyota abandoned its amateur status to form the PBA, bringing along Jaworski, Arnaiz, Fernandez, Concepcion, Bauzon, the Reynoso brothers Big Boy and Cris, Acuna and Segura, while beefing up the roster with new acquisitions Joaquin Rojas, Aurelio Clarino and Oscar Rocha,

    And with 6-foot-8 America import Byron “Snake” Jones joining coach Silverio’s aggrupation after the first half of the preliminary round, the then kown as Comets, indeed, looked formidable in compiling an enviable 15-3 win-loss record going into the First Conference Championship at the expense of soon-to-be fiercest rivals Crispa Redmanzers, 2-1, of their best-of-three gold medal series.

    Coach Dante brought in 6-6 import Stan Cherry for the Second Conference, making his line up more balanced as the Comets, once again, beat the Redmanizers in the title playoff after Crispa, trailing the series the series, 1-2, withdrew from the title playoff.

    In the four-team Third Conference, billed as the All Philippine Championship, Toyota lost to Crispa in the first to win three series that went the full route to deny the Comets what could’ve been the first Grand Slam triumph of the then first and only pro-league in the country.

    In the overall win-loss picture of the play-for-pay’s inaugural year, Toyota won 42 games against 15 losses. It had a winning record against all other pro clubs: 12-9 over Crsipa, 7-2 over Royal Tru-Orange of San Miguel, 6-1 over Universal Textiles, 5-2 over Mariwasa Noritake, 3-1 over Concepcion Carrier, 3-0 over Seven-Up, 3-0 over CFC Presto, and 3-0 over Taduay Distillers.

    Toyota scored the highest single game 159 points its one-sided outing vs Seven-Up on May 13, 1975. Comets sentinel Francis Arnaiz was named pro-basketball Player of the Year in that year’s Seven-Up All-Filipino Sports Award with Silverio and Crispa counterpart Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan, co-coaches of the Year.

    The PBA was born and grew up in the shadow of the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City and the age-old Rizal Memorial Coliseum inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila. Mild turbulences as player fights attended its first years of existence but action grew more frenzied games improved a lot. Attendance picked up and competition stiffer.

    Before the maiden year, that was dignosed not to last to celebrate its second anniversary ended, the PBA had grown into a full-grown adult that is now celebrating its 47th birthday.

    Thanks to Toyota and Crispa whose storied rivalry that lasted a little over a decade, made the PBA what it was before its disbandment. (Reprinted from


    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 22 February 2024
      5 days ago No comment

      Canada to open Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office in Manila

      Canada is opening its new Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office (IPAAO) in the Philippines. The IPAAO is expected to be inaugurated in Manila in February 2024 in a development coinciding with this year’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The ...

    • 15 February 2024
      2 weeks ago No comment

      Canada, Philippines ranked in global corruption index

      February 16, 2024 — Transparency International has released its latest Corruption Perception Index, which scores 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public-sector corruption. The Berlin-based anti-corruption group’s 2023 CPI scores 180 countries and territories, using a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 being very clean ...

    • 08 February 2024
      3 weeks ago No comment

      Marcos-Duterte alliance splinters

      The rift between Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, has taken a turn for the worse. Philippine political analysts say in media reports that this may be end of the political alliance that swept Marcos Jr. to the presidency and Duterte’s daughter Sara as ...

    • 25 January 2024
      1 month ago No comment

      Tara na!: Filipinos go for Pierre Poilievre

      VANCOUVER – Members of the Filipino community showed their all-out support to the Conservative Party of Canada as their leader, Pierre Poilievre, held a meet and greet last January 22 at the Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre. Several Conservative MPs accompanied Poilievre as he talked about the latest issues and problems ...

    • 23 January 2024
      1 month ago No comment

      Rewind’ breaks domestic box office records

      MANILA — The 49th Metro Manila Film Fest entry “Rewind” is now the highest-grossing Filipino film in terms of domestic box office sales, amassing P815-million as of January 17. This surpasses the local box office records set by “Hello, Love, Goodbye” in 2019 and “The Hows of Us” in ...

    %d bloggers like this: